Zionism

From Jewish Messianism to Zionism

Arrêt-sur-Info interviews Youssef Hindi (1), author of Occident et Islam.


I read your book (Occident & Islam) with great interest. I like the fact that you are rigorous in the citation of your sources, which seem irrefutable. I think it is essential to highlight this when dealing with such a controversial issue. In particular, you quote the leading expert in Jewish mysticism, Gershom Scholem (1897-1982), founder of the chair of Kabbalah at the Hebrew University of Jersusalem.  […] Why did you want to make an in depth study of such a controversial subject?  

First of all, I wasn’t satisfied with the two main theories on the origins of Zionism. According to the first theory, Zionism was founded by Theodor Herzl and the World Zionist Congress. The alternative theory, which is lesser known and supported by several historians, including Shlomo Sand, claims that English protestants during the 17th century wanted to repatriate the Jews in the Holy Land, in order to hasten the return of Christ. I do not support this second theory either, as I was already aware that the idea of hastening the return of the messiah by means of political action was not originally a Christian idea but one which came from Jewish messianism. And so, in order to discover the true origin of Zionism, I knew that I would need to study Jewish messianism, in particular by going back to Kabbalah (the occult tradition of Judaism, said to be the “unwritten and secret law” given to Moses by God) which is the source of messianism, which I term “active messianism” in my book. Kabbalah was, therefore, the starting point for my research. I then began to study its origins, its purposes and its various concepts. My aim was to go back in history to identify the person who opened Pandora’s box.

In the book, you talk about “active messianism”. You say that your book aims to give us the keys for deciphering the modern world, and that going back in the past allows you to have a perspective which is highly relevant to today’s world. We are faced with geopolitical events and the chaos they cause in the Middle East. If we do not understand the underlying causes of events today, then it’s impossible to see what is really happening. This is why this book is important: it allows us to discover the origins of messianic Judaism and its consequences. You state that the origins of Kabbalah can be traced back to 1st century Palestine. During the 11th century, Kabbalah gradually spread across Europe. It then gathered momentum in 13th century Spain with Nachmanides (Moses ben Nahman) and Abraham Abulafia (Abraham ben Samuel Abulafia). You also explain that, in the beginning, Kabbalah was considered to be a dangerous heresy by the Jewish orthodoxy, but that it nonetheless gradually infiltrated Judaism.

Kabbalah is a mystical movement which dates from the 1st century. For over a thousand years, until the late Middle Ages, the Talmudists, the defenders of official Jewish orthodoxy, fought against Kabbalah. The Kabbalists mission was to ensure that Kabbalah formed an integral part of the Jewish orthodoxy. And they succeeded! As I explain in my book, almost all Kabbalist concepts have been integrated into the Jewish orthodoxy. At the end of the Middle Ages, a fusion took place between the orthodox Judaism of the Torah, the Talmud and Kabbalah. Kabbalah managed to reach the heart of the Jewish orthodoxy.

You retrace the steps of Solomon Molcho during the 16th century. Could you tell us something about this character and his importance in the development of Zionism?

Solomon Molcho (1500-1532) was a wandering rabbi and David Reubeni’s pupil. Under the influence of Reubeni, he attempted to convince the Pope to raise an army of Marrano Jews to attack the Ottoman Empire in Palestine and expel the Ottomans from the Holy Land, in order to recreate the Kingdom of Israel. His attempt failed because he was wanted by the Inquisition. But he was protected by Pope Clement VII and fled with Reubeni to meet one of the most powerful men in Europe, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.  Again, he proposed to attack the Ottoman Empire. This ends very badly, because Charles V had David Reubeni imprisoned in Spain and handed Solomon Molcho over to the Inquisition, which had him burnt at the stake. One of Molcho’s main goals was to influence Christians, to have them accept Jewish messianic views. In one of his treaties, he said that Christians should be the target of political actions with a messianic goal, in order to reconstruct the Kingdom of Israel. And he laid down one of the key stones for what later becomes Judeo-Christianity. He simply attempted to accomplish a messianic mission which predated him. This is what I explain in my book.

You explain that Jewish messianism gave birth to Protestant messianism. During the 16th century, Kabbalah gradually infiltrated the Christian world, as a result of efforts made by the rabbi Isaac Luria (Lurianic Kabbalah). During the 17th century, Kabbalah infiltrated the Muslim world because of Sabbatai Zevi (Sabbatean Kabbalah) and the Dönmeh. From the 15th century onwards, Christianity began to be destroyed from within by the Marranos (Spanish Jews who pretended to convert Christianity). Could you tell us about the Protestant restoration movement and then tell us a bit more about Jacob Frank, an infiltrator?

Yes, Jacob Frank had infiltrated Catholicism in the 18th century. He claimed to be the reincarnation of Sabbatai Zevi. We should note that Marranism concerned the Spanish Jews whom the Christians, following the Reconquista (the Alhambra Decree of 1492), had decided to expel from the country. The Marranos were the Jews who had pretended to convert to Christianity in order to stay in Spain. From then on, a culture of concealment developed. This was termed Marranism, but in fact this culture of concealment was already present in Jewish culture. False conversions have always been commonplace in the Jewish tradition, be it in the European world or in the age of Muhammad, during the 7th century, when rabbis pretended to convert to Islam.

As regards Kabbalah’s inflitration into the Christian world, this is explained in detail in a chapter of my latest book. This movement begins in the late 13th century, but successful attempts were made during the second half of the 15th century, when Kabbalist Jews started to teach Christians, the most well-known among them being Jean Pic de la Mirandole.  His master taught him Hebrew, Chaldee and initiated him in Kabbalah. Together they created a Christian version of Kabbalah, in order to subject the Christian world to Jewish ideas. In other words, they attempted to convince Christians, and even the Vatican, that Kabbalah can in fact explain Christian doctrines, such as the Holy Trinity. This Christian Kabbalah, which took root first in Italy and then in France, continued to develop in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries in England and Germany at the height of the Protestant age.

At the same time, during the 16th century, Isaac Luria, chief rabbi of Safed, intensified the messianic dimension of Kabbalah. He developed a theory of political action, which is much more proactive than that of Spanish Kabbalah. And it is Luria’s version of Kabbalah which spread across Europe. The Christian version of Kabbalah, the birth of Protestantism, and this wave of messianic Kabbalism developed by Luria all came together during the 17th century, which saw the birth of the millenarian Christian restoration movement. English Protestants spearheaded the project for the repatriation of the Jews in the Holy Land. The Restoration Movement had influential leaders during the 17th and 18th centuries. But it is only really during the 19th century that the Zionist project began to take shape. This Zionist project, then, needed centuries before finally coming to fruition because the necessary political, ideological and geopolitical conditions had to be met.

In your book, you also look at another chapter in history, namely the subversive  movements in Islam and their links to messianic Judaism. In particular, you look at Wahhabism during the 18th century and the 19th century Islamic Modernist movement, which gave rise to the Muslim Brotherhood. Could you elaborate on this point?

In the second half of the book, I begin my examination of the 17th century with Sabbatai Zevi, a Kabbalist rabbi who developed an antinomian theology, i.e. one which is against divine law and which reverses all values and is therefore, strictly speaking, Satanic. From 1666 onwards, he and his disciples pretend to convert to Islam. He urges his disciples, in other words hundreds of families, to infiltrate Islam and destroy it from within. To prove this, I provide all the evidence, including quotes from Gershom Scholem. The Dönmeh are the direct descendants of this Sabbatean movement. They are Turkish Jews who pretended to convert to Islam and were at the origin of the Young Turk reform movement. The 19th century saw the birth of Islamic Modernism, which was a purely Masonic initiative, as it was connected with all the networks linked to the Young Turk movement.

In Europe, the Frankists were members of Masonic networks. Indeed, European Frankists and Turkish Sabbateans remained in permanent contact until the end of the 19th century. In parallel, both movements achieved the same objective by using the same means: the destruction of Christian Europe and the Islamic East.

We could go further by including Wahhabism, which developed during the 18th century, but there is no solid proof of a link between Wahhabism and Sabbateanism. When we examine Wahhabism, however, we do find striking similarities not only between these two movements but also with Cromwell’s revolution in 17th century England. Wahhabism and the Islamic Modernism shaped the Muslim world from within and, via the disciples of Muhammad Abduh, both these movements ultimately merged to form the Muslim Brotherhood, founded by Hassan al-Banna. They are, therefore, two parallel schools of thought which function dialectically.

I should point out that the founding fathers of Islamic Modernism during the 19th century (Jamal al-Din Al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh) and many of their disciples were freemasons. Indeed, in Egypt during the 1870s, both Al-Afghani and Abduh, in liaison with their Masonic networks, attempted to stage a great revolution, known as the Urabi Revolution. The modernists adhered to the same subversive ideology (albeit diluted and tinged with progressivism) as the Sabbateans, the Young Turks, the French revolutionaries and the Frankists.

Could you clarify what Masonic lodges are?

We can answer this question from various angles. I take a unique approach by showing how the Masonic lodges, which in fact are networks, were used by the Sabbateans and the Frankists to subvert both Christian and Muslim world from within. In addition, as I explain in the book, there exists a whole variety of Masonic lodges: some are ideologically neutral, some quite clearly adhere to Satanism, while others are either theistic or Judeo-Christian.  What I wanted to show was how those Masonic lodges were used by the Sabbateans, the Frankists and, later on, by those in the Islamic Modernist movement in order to subvert both the Christian and the Muslim world.

And always indirectly, in an underhand fashion, never open and direct?

Yes, always indirectly. It’s a surreptitious subversion. I demonstrate this by using copious references.

I wanted to touch upon the ulema (Sunni theologians) and Al-Azhar University. You say they are opposed to the Wahhabi doctrine. Could you tell us more about them, in order to show that there are schools of thought in the Islamic world which attempt to fight against Wahhabism?

Al-Azhar is the University of Cairo, historically the centre of Sunni Islamic thought (for the modern era, in any case). This university, together with other universities elsewhere in the world, have always virulently opposed Wahhabism which originated in Najd, Saudi Arabia.

We shouldn’t forget that Muhammad Rashid Rida, a disciple of Muhammad Abduh, was financed during the 1920s by the Saudis, notably by the newspaper al-Manar. Together with his disciples, he attacked the ulema of al-Azhar, opponents of Wahhabism. Rashid Rida attacked the enemies of Wahhabism, defended the Wahhabi doctrine and portrayed Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab as a great reformer!

At a conference, held in Grozny in June 2016, the world’s leading Sunni theologians, including the Grand Mufti of Egypt (Shawki Allam) and the Grand Mufti of Damascus (Abdul Fattah), decreed that Salafist Wahhabism was a non-Sunni doctrine, excluded from Sunnism (a clear reference to Wahhabi and Takfiri groups supported by Saudi Arabia).

Thank you for highlighting this vital point. Indeed, the press briefly made mention of this. To come back to your research on Jewish messianism and how it developed over the centuries, you detail the origins of political and atheist messianism, which was later to became Zionism during the 19th and 20th centuries. You refer to the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreements as well as the restructuring of the Middle East. Could you also tell us about the historian Henry Laurens (2) and the Greater Israel project? Could you then make a brief analysis of the current situation in relation to what is happening in Syria today? Could you describe the key players who mainly act outside of Israeli territory and who work to accomplish the messianic mission?

The Zionist project has undergone many changes, the most important of which took place during the 19th century. In the book, I demonstrate that Zionism is but one element of the global messianic project. During the 19th century, certain religious ideas and messianic projects took on an atheist, materialist and secular form. Zionism was one of these messianic ideas which became “secularised”, as it was portrayed as a project to create a Jewish homeland in order to protect the Jews from pogroms, etc. But this was mere propaganda. In truth, the aim was to accomplish the biblical mission. Indeed, from the early 20th century, Zionists, such as Theodor Herzl, defended the project to create an Israel defined by biblical borders, stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates. David Ben-Gurion stated this in writing in 1918, which was even before the creation of Israel.

In truth, therefore, this religious project, falsely portrayed as being atheist, was just a facade and a means of accomplishing a mission which, at the time, could not be openly couched in religious terms.

In the early phases of the execution of the Zionist project, in 1882 for instance, Edmond de Rothschild began buying land in Palestine. The Zionists then attempted to convince the Ottoman Sultan, the Kaiser and then the British to create a Jewish homeland. In the end, it was the British who took charge of this project. In 1916, before the end of the First World War, the British were losing against the Germans. The Zionists then proposed them a deal: they persuaded the Americans to join the British in the war against Germany, in exchange for which the British attacked the Ottoman Empire in Palestine in order to create a Jewish homeland. From the start, therefore, we can see that Jewish international finance influenced Western powers from within in order to have them endorse the Zionist project. This method was used throughout the 20th century. From 1948, the US politically and financially supported Israel.

By drawing on the work of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, I demonstrate in the final part of the book how the pro-Israeli lobby pushed the US to destroy the Muslim world (Iraq, Syria) in order to pave the way for the creation of Greater Israel, planned long ago (4). I then quote the Oded Yinon plan, written in 1982. The neoconservative plan to restructure the Middle East, the “Greater Middle East Initiative” is nothing other than the execution of the Oded Yinon plan. Indeed, following September 11, the pro-Israel lobby pushed the US to carry out the destruction of the Arab states bordering Israel, in order to allow Israel to expand its territory in the future. This was the goal at the outset and it remains so today.

You also discuss the fact that messianism has reached fever pitch in Israel, as well as the connection between American neoconservatism and the current Israeli government and its links to Jewish religious leaders. Could you explain this, as those who are not experts in the field do not necessarily realise that there is a link between the two?

Jews form the nucleus of neoconservatives in the United States. They are in fact former Trotskyites who had shifted to the right. Their political mission is modelled on the Zionist project and that of the millenarian Protestants. And it is these American neoconservatives, the hardcore of which is Jewish, who collaborate with the pro-Israel lobby and work in the interests of Israel. Using a number of quotes, I demonstrate very clearly that these people do not work in the interests of the United States. Nor do they even work in the interests of American imperialism. They in fact strive to accomplish the Israeli mission. At the same time, I show that the current Israeli administration (dating from at least 2012) is, historically speaking, the most messianic government that Israel has ever known.

For instance, I cite Charles Enderlin. It’s not that I criticise him, but I don’t think he has understood the problem, because he believes that the phenomenon corresponds to the conquest of holy sites which began with the 1967 war. This is false. I explain that we are seeing a resurgence of Jewish messianism which gave birth to the Zionist project.  As I demonstrate in the book, primary causes shape outcomes, and do so even over many centuries. So we shouldn’t be surprised to see those who represent the biblical orthodoxy come to power in Israel because, in truth, they never lost control of the country!

David Ben-Gurion himself wrote that socialism was merely a means to accomplish the Zionist mission. All these political movements which appear to be atheist are just tools for the Israelis and the messianic Jews. This is why atheist Jews, secular Jews and religious Jews do not truly oppose each other. Regardless of whether they are atheist, secular or socialist, Jewish opinion converges at this stage of the messianic project. They disagree as to the means, but they all agree on the end goal.

In particular, you quote the Book of Joshua, often mentioned by Israeli political leaders, including Benjamin Netanyahu. Could you explain the religious dimension to the construction of Israel?

In the final chapter, I show that the creation of the Jewish homeland – its method of conquest and its ultimate goal – is based on the Book of Joshua (the destruction of villages, expulsion or massacre of the inhabitants). Beyond this aspect, I make a comparison between stages of conquest in the Book of Joshua and the successive stages towards the creation of the Jewish homeland and Greater Israel. And this is very salutary…

You quote Ovadia Yosef (1920-2013), the controversial Israeli rabbi. Could you tell us more about him?

By discussing Ovadia Yosef, I wanted to highlight the underlying influence of religious leaders on Israeli policy. He is not an isolated case. There is also the chief rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994) who lectured Netanyahu, urging him to take action to hasten the coming of the messiah. In 1967 and 1973, Ariel Sharon sought rabbi Schneerson’s advice on military issues, even though Sharon is not religious.

To come back to Ovadia Yosef, I explain that he was a key player in Israeli policymaking, because all Israeli leaders went to him for advice. The religious orthodoxy plays a key role in the making of Israeli geopolitical policy. This is why, throughout the history of Israel, we can see the application of both Jewish laws and the implementation of a programme based on the Old Testament.  As I demonstrate in the book, rabbis throughout history focused on using the bible to develop both a theology and a praxeology, and turned this into a political instrument as well as a geopolitical project.

Some of the statements made by Ovadia Yosef are so racist and abhorrent they chill the blood. Regarding the Palestinians, he declared that “It is forbidden to have pity on them. We must give them missiles with relish, annihilate them.” (2001 Passover sermon. Cf. Haaretz, April 12, 2001) […]

As I explain, he was not a lone eccentric. He is a chief rabbi who advised politicians. Even Israeli army generals sought his advice in the preparation of the war against Iran. He was a key figure in Israel and is certainly not the only one to hold these views.

In order to demonstrate that he was influential, you quote a member of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) who, during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in 2014, called for the death of all Palestinian mothers ?  

Yes, you are referring to the ultra-nationalist Ayelet Shaked, who went on to become a minister. I also quote the Knesset’s vice-president, Moshe Feiglin, who proposes to expel the Palestinians from Gaza and drive them into the Sinai. As in the Book of Joshua, he quite calmly explains that Gaza’s infrastructure should be destroyed with full force. The resemblance to the following passage in the Book of Joshua (6:24) is striking: “And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein.” Feiglin mentions “no consideration for human shields” which basically means that those who refuse to leave Gaza should be wiped out in order to ethnically cleanse the entire city. We should remember that we are talking about the vice-president of the Knesset here!

Could you give us your analysis of the current situation in Syria and that of what happened in Iraq ?

The destruction of Iraq, Libya and Syria is not directly linked to American vital interests, contrary to what the majority of geopolitical analysts say. Nor is it linked to any desire to control the oil reserves. As John Mearsheimer (3) and Stephen Walt demonstrate, if the Americans had wanted to seize control of the Iraqi oil fields, all they had to do was put pressure on Saddam Hussein, and he would have gladly accepted!

Indeed, during the 1990s, President Assad did nothing but reach out to Israel and the USA for the sake of peace. And each time the Americans wanted to come to an agreement with the Iranians or the Syrians the Israeli lobby systematically stepped in. Why? Because the Israeli lobby’s ultimate goal is the destruction of those countries. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer have clearly demonstrated that it was in fact the Israeli lobby, not the oil lobby, which pushed the US to destroy Iraq. Indeed, Bernard-Henri Lévy, who participated in the destruction of Libya, declared before the CRIF (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions) that he did as a Jew. It has to be understood, then, that he did this as an Israeli agent.

The main reason for the tension between Russia and America on the Syrian issue is the Israeli project. As I explain in the preface to my book, the Russians, the Iranians and the Syrians are not fighting against American imperialism but against the Israeli project, executed and endorsed by the Americans to their own detriment. American imperialists are not the friends of humanity, but, as Carl Shmitt put it, we should correctly identify the principal enemy.

Needless to say, American imperialism (and all that it entails) is one of the problems – if not the main problem – for the world today. But if the Americans were to return to the isolationist Monroe doctrine, as Trump would like to, the problem would be solved. Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of America’s greatest geostrategists, understood that basing American foreign policy on that of Israel’s jeopardised the future of the United States.

Both the destruction of Syria and perhaps even the future US-Russian war, which remains a possibility, both have the same root cause: the Israeli imperialist project. This should be born in mind.

How do you explain that so few people – in the West, at any rate – are aware of this ? And why do so few people speak out against it?

First of all, we cannot publically speak out against it in the West because both the media and the political system are tightly controlled. But if you were to go to the Middle East, for instance, you can openly give your opinion on this matter. The Western world, especially Europe and the US, has a politicised media system which prevents any form of free debate of this issue. It is not difficult to understand why. Just take any of the major TV channels or newspapers and then go to the top of the chain of command: here you often find Jewish, Israeli or even Protestant multimillionaires as well as arms dealers. We shouldn’t, therefore, be surprised that we do not have complete freedom of speech in the West.

If we now look at dissident circles, those who criticise American imperialism and even Zionism, we see another problem, which is methodological in nature. The work of geopolitical analysts often lacks historical depth, because they base their work on statistics and the study of energy resources, believing this to be the be all and end all of geopolitics. The religious, ideological and messianic dimension is totally ignored. This is why I wrote the book, in order to provide a new and different way to interpret modern history, an interpretation which appears to me to be more effective than geopolitics as it currently stands.

March 2017



Translated from French

Source: Arrêt sur Info

arretsurinfo.ch/du-messianisme-juif-au-sionisme-contemporain


(1) Youssef Hindi is a write and historian, specialising in the study of messianic eschatology. Born in Morocco, he emigrated to France at a very young age, which led him to develop his thinking on the necessary reconciliation between northern and southern Mediterranean countries. Since time immemorial, the destinies of these two worlds have been inextricably linked.

(2) Henry Laurens, historian, states that : “The Yishuv (Jewish community) was established as an absolute refusal to collaborate economically and socially with the Arab population. Jewish exclusionism, necessary for the construction of a Jewish homeland, meant that any interaction with the Arab sector was considered as being a failure which needed to be addressed. The historical ambiguity of Zionism as a nationalist and secular definition of this community, hitherto defined by religious criteria, transformed the Yishuv into a hybrid: a public group having the right to call itself a “people” but whose membership criteria are defined by religious affiliation”

(3)  http://arretsurinfo.ch/reprise-le-lobby-israelien/

(4) David Ben-Gurion stated in 1938: “[I am] satisfied with part of the country, but on the basis of the assumption that after we build up a strong force following the establishment of the state–we will abolish the partition of the country and we will expand to the whole Land of Israel.”

 

SYRIA : Who’s pulling the strings?

SYRIA : Direct clash between Moscow and Washington. Who’s pulling the strings?

Jean Terrien, Rivarol


Following the American bombing of a humanitarian convoy in Syria (on the 20th September 2016) and five long hours of relentless bombardment of Syrian army positions by the US air-force, a violation of the cease-fire agreement signed on 9 September, Moscow is taking a harder line.

During a BBC interview, the Russian foreign affairs minister, Sergueï Lavrov, dropped diplomatic language and openly accused the US of protecting terrorists belonging to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly the Al-Nusra Front) when he pointed out that “The Americans have never attacked a single position belonging to the Al-Nusra Front”. (1)

This was confirmed by a commanding officer of the Al-Nusra Front in an interview granted to the German newspaper Stadt-Anzeiger : “Yes, the US support the opposition (in Syria), but not directly. They support the countries which support us. But we are still not satisfied with this support”. (2) What’s more, he revealed that the terrorist group had won battles thanks to American TOW anti-tank missiles which were “directly given” to his troops and added that “thanks to these missiles, the situation in several (Syrian) regions is under control”. Regarding heavy artillery, he explained that “our tanks and rocket-launchers came from Libya via Turkey”.

In order to prevent any future error being made by the American air-force, and thereby protect the Syrian army and Russian ground units, Russia has deployed its defensive missile systems (S300 and S400). Washington’s reaction was swift. Pentagon spokesman, Peter Cook, warned the Russians: “It must be clear for the Russians and all those operating in Syria that we take very seriously the safety our pilots”. In response, the spokesman for the Russian ministry of defence, Igor Konachenkov, stated: “we reiterate that the S-300 is uniquely for defence purposes and threatens nobody”. (3)

It should be made clear that the Russians decided to deploy their defensive systems following news that Washington was considering carrying out air-strikes against the Syrian army. Igor Konachenkov added in a press statement that “We have to be aware of the fact that the Russian systems will not have time to identify the precise trajectory of the missiles and their origin. And those who claim that invisible airplanes exist are heading for a big disappointment” (4)

We have perhaps come to a point of no return in this stand-off between America and Russia. A direct confrontation between the two great military powers in Syria could cause a world war. But one question, which has never been asked, remains: who would benefit from this possible world war? In order to identify the guilty party and the ultimate beneficiary of this coming world war, it is necessary to go back to the origins of the Syrian conflict and those who created it.

ARCHITECTS OF MIDDLE EASTERN DESTRUCTION

In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Israeli leaders and the Israeli lobby in America jumped into action to use these attacks as a justification for a series of war against their Arab neighbours, a war which the Americans were to wage on their behalf. In statement which Netanyahou had published in the Chicago Sun-Times on the 7 January, we see very clearly that 9/11 was nothing other than a pretext for the reconstruction of the Middle East: “Should America overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the Al-Qaida network would fall apart on its own accord. The United States must now act in the same way for the other regimes of terror – Iran, Iraq, the dictatorship of Yasser Arafat, Syria and several others” (5)

In 2002, the very powerful pro-Israeli lobby group, AIPIC, held their annual conference, the theme of which was “America and Israel against Terrorism”. Discussions focused on the common threats to Israel and the US: the old and tired Yasser Arafat (who, poisoned, would die two years later), the former CIA employee Ossama bin Laden, the Taliban (armed and supported by the CIA via the Pakistani special forces), Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria. (6)

In April 2002, the American neoconservative think-tank PNAC (Project for the New American Century) published a letter addressed to president Bush. This letter was signed by several Jewish figures (William Kristol, Richard Perle, Daniel Pipes, Eliot Cohen, Norman Podhoretz) and non-Jewish Zionists (William Bennet, R James Woosley) together with 28 other prominent neoconservatives figures: “Nobody should doubt that the United States and Israel have a common enemy. Our two countries are the target of what you have rightly called the ‘axis of evil’. As the secretary of state for defence, Donald Rumsfeld, pointed out, Iran, Iraq and Syria encourage a culture of political assassination and terrorist attacks against Israel, just as they have supported terrorist campaigns against the US. Mr President, you have declared war against international terrorism. Israel is fighting the same war”. (7)

Looking at the chronology of the statements, we can clearly see that the neoconservatives have in fact merely followed a plan which was drawn up well in advance by Israeli strategists, their American followers and by their agents of influence planted at the heart of the citadel of American power…

In the US, the promoters of this project to destroy Arab countries are the neoconservatives. But make no mistake: the roots of neoconservatism are essentially Jewish (8). The hard core of American neoconservatives is dominated by Jews, who occupy key posts in influential organisations, foundations and political institutions, such as:   Elliott Abrams, Keneth Adelman, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz. In journalism, we find David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Bret Stephens and Norman Podhoretz. Among the Jewish neoconservative university professors, we find Eliot Cohen, Aaron Fridberg, Ruth Wedgwood and the highly influential Bernard Lewis, a pro-Israeli Jewish historian (father of the “theory” of the clash of civilisations, popularised by his assistant, Samuel Huntington). Among the experts we have Max Boot, David Frum, Reuel Gerecht, Robert Kagan, Michael Ledeen (father of the “constructive chaos” doctrine), Joshua Maravchik, the ineffable Daniel Pipes, Danielle Pletka, Michael Rubin and Meyra Wurmser.

The Jewish neoconservative Max Boot stated very clearly that “support for Israel is one the key principles of neoconservatism”. (9) As renowned American professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt point out: “neoconservatism is a sub-set of the pro-Israeli movement. Jewish Americans are at the heart of the neoconservative movement, in the same way that they form the majority of the (pro-Israeli) lobby”. (10)

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THE ORIGINS OF THE SYRIAN WAR

American strategic aims in Syria are based on the Israeli plan written in 1982 by Oded Yinon (11), who was an official at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs.  This primarily targeted Iraq and made a plan to disintegrate the country before subjecting it to the same treatment as Syria. The Israelis, via the intermediary of the United States, have indeed followed the Oded Yinon plan to the letter. As soon as Baghdad fell, the Israeli leaders began to prepare for the future war against Syria, making accusations of a Syrian chemical weapons programme.

In April 2003, when Baghdad had just fallen, the Israelis started to push the United States to attack the Syrian regime. (12)

In an interview granted to the newspaper Yedioth Aharonoth on the 15 April 2003, the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, stated that Bashar Al-Assad was “a dangerous man, incapable of sound judgement”. The Israelis had already said the same thing about Saddam Hussein who, according to them, had hidden “weapons of mass destruction” in Syria in collusion with Damascus just before the outbreak of the conflict. Is there really any need to explain why such an accusation is ludicrous?

Sharon called for the United States to put “great pressure” on Syria to force it to stop supporting Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He also demanded that Lebanon: drive out the Iranian Revolutionary Guards from the Beqaa Valley; stop all cooperation with Iran; force Hezbollah to withdraw from its positions on the border with Israel; replace Hezbollah with the Lebanese army; and remove its short-range missiles targeting Israel. (13)

In other words, Sharon demanded that all barriers to Israeli expansion in the region be removed; he wanted the Levant served on a plate. Even an Israeli diplomat criticised Sharon’s excessive demands, inviting him to be more discreet regarding the relations between Damascus and Washington. (14)

Sharon was not an isolated case among the Israeli leaders. The minister of defence, Shaul Mofaz, declared on 14 April 2003 that: “We have a long list of demands regarding the Syrians, and it seems appropriate that they be communicated via the Americans” (15). Like Sharon, the minister of defence demanded that Syria break all links with Hamas and Islamic Jihad and that Hezbollah be disbanded.(16)

Two weeks later, Sharon’s national security adviser, Ephraïm Halevy, came to Washington to push American leaders to take decisive action against Syria. He deployed the well-known Israeli argument; according to him, Syria had weapons of mass destruction and they were in the hands of Bashar al-Assad, who was described as being “irresponsible” and “arrogant”. (17)

For its part, Syria – whether it be under Hafez (1930-2000) or under Bashar al-Assad, throughout the 90s and from the year 2000 onwards – has sought peace with both the Israelis and the Americans. But the Israelis – who, as usual accepted to enter negotiations in order to better deceive – systematically derailed negotiations or simply did not comply with the agreements made. For instance, in December 2003, Assad proposed a peace deal and Haaretz’s military correspondent, Ze’ev Schiff, made the following comment: “The most surprising thing about the Syrian president’s proposal to resume peace talks with Israel is the Israeli leaders response…Prime minister Ariel Sharon has remained silent. Not a single word has passed his lips… We in the press have always held up hopes that such an offer would be made” (18)

This policy of mistrust towards Syria, promoted by the Israelis in the United States, did not please the American administration. The CIA and the State Department, in particular, stressed that the policy of confronting Syria was a strategic error. But Israel and the pro-Israel lobby convinced the American government to follow them down this road. (19) They used the same argument that they had previously used for Iraq, namely that Syria was not only a severe threat to Israel but also to the United States (20). It could well be asked in what sense Syria could possibly be a threat to the United States? No lie is too big for the Israeli leaders. By destabilising the region and beyond, these falsehoods have serious consequences.

Following the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Israelis declared that Syria was, at the very least, just as dangerous as Iraq. The Israeli strategists, Yossi Alpher, giving the Israeli point of view on Syria, explained that “Syria had a great ability to do harm, much more so than Iraq”. In April 2003, the Washington Post reported that Sharon and Mofaz strove to fuel the anti-Assad campaign by swamping the United States with secret reports on the misdeeds of president Bashar al-Assad (21) and the concealment of his Iraqi weapons (22).  Israel and the pro-Israel lobby in the United States began their anti-Syrian campaign as early as 1996. (23) The current situation is merely the direct consequence of this.

For those who believe that attempts to overthrow the Syrian government began in 2011 following the supposed “massacres” of Syrian civilians by Assad, here’s something that will make them think again. In April 2003, eight years before the Arab Spring, Paul Wolfowitz, a Jewish neoconservative, declared that “regime change in Syria is essential”. Speaking to a journalist, Richard Perle, also a Jewish neoconservative, said that “we will be able send a short message, five words long, to other hostile regimes in the Middle East: now it is your turn”. (24)

In the light of these facts, and given Israel’s constant aggression towards Syria together with its open support of terrorists, it is obvious that the potential war between the United States and Russia will ultimately be to the exclusive benefit of Israel. Its goal is to have its insane project completed by the United States, which is supposed to destroy the Syrian army and drive Russia out of the region, in order to finally clear the way for Greater Israel, which will stretch to the Euphrates. In other words, Greater Israel will be built on the corpse of the Syrian nation. When the great global catastrophe happens, we shouldn’t forget who the true culprits are.


Article Translated from French

The original author was Jean Terrien

Source: Rivarol, n°3253, 13/10/2016

http://www.rivarol.com/Rivarol.html


REFERENCES

  1. Lavrov : Les Etats-Unis protègent un groupe jihadiste en Syrie : <http://aa.com.tr/fr/monde/lavrov-les-etats-unis-prot%C3%A8gent-un-groupe-jihadiste-en-syrie-/655943>.
  2. Russia Today, 27/09/2016.
  3. 20 minutes, Syrie : L’armée russe déploie des systèmes de défense antiaérienne S-300, 05/10/2016.
  4. Sputnik News, Moscou annonce ses intentions d’abattre tout missile menaçant en Syrie, 06/10/2016.
  5. Benjamin Netanyahou, “Three Pinciple Keys to Defeat Terrorism”, Chicago Sun-Times, 7 January 2002.
  6. Dana Hearn, AIPAC Policy Conference, 21-22 April 2002, Journal of Palestine Studies 31, n° 4, summer, 2002, pp. 66-79.
  7. Letter to President Bush on Israel, Arafat, and the World on Terrorism, Project for the New American Century, 3 avril 2002, www.newamericancentury.Org/bushletter-040302.htm
  8. Murray Friedman explains that neoconservatism is a Jewish invention in: The Neoconservative Revolution : Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping of Public Policy. See also the article written by Gal Beckerman in Forward, “The Neoconservative Persuasion”, 6 janvier 2006.
  9. Max Boot, “What the Heck is a Neocon ?”, Wall Street Journal, 30 December 2002.
  10. Walt and Mearsheimer, La politique étrangère américaine et le lobby pro-israélien, 2007, La Découverte.
  11. Oded Yinon’s “A strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”, 1982. New French translation, Le Plan sioniste pour le Moyen-Orient, Sigest, Paris, 2015.
  12. Seymour Hersh, The Syrian Bet, art. cit. ; Molly Moore, Sharon Asks U.S. Pressure Syria on Militant, Washington Post, 17 avril 2003 ; Ori Nir, Jerusalem Urges Bush ; Next Hezbollah, Forward, 11 avril 2003 ; Ori Nir, Sharon Aide Makes the Case for U.S. Action against Syria, Forward, 18 avril 2003 ; Marc Perelman, Behind Warnings to Damascus : Reassessment of Younger Assad, Forward, 18 avril 2003 ; Daniel Sobelman and Nathan Guttman, PM Urges U.S. to keep on Syria, Calls Assad “dangerous”, Haaretz, 15 avril 2003.
  13. Daniel Sobelman and Nathan Guttman, PM Urges U.S. to Keep Heat on Syria. See also Molly Moore, Sharon Asks U.S., article quoted in Walt and Mearsheimer, op. cit., p. 299.
  14. Herb Keinon, “Sharon Criticized for Public Declaration on Syria-U.S. Tension”, Jerusalem Post, 16 avril 2003.
  15. Ori Nir, “Sharon Aide Makes the Case”. See also DeYoung, “U.S. Toughens Warning”, quoted in Molly Moore, “Sharon Asks U.S.”
  16. Walt et Mearsheimer, op. cit., p. 299.
  17. Forward, quoted par Walt and Mearsheimer, op. cit., p. 299.
  18. Ze’ev Schiff, “The Peace Threat from Damascus”, Haaretz, 8 december 2003. See the details of Syrian peace offers in Walt et Mearsheimer, op. cit., chap. 9.
  19. Walt and Mearsheimer, op. cit., p. 298.
  20. Walt and Mearsheimer, op. cit., p. 298.
  21. Walt and Mearsheimer, op. cit., p. 300.
  22. Walt and Mearsheimer, op. cit., p. 300. See note 51, p. 475.
  23. Walt and Mearsheimer, op. cit., p. 300.
  24. Wolfowitz quoted in Nathan Guttman, “Some Senior U.S. Figures Say Syria Has Crossed the Red Line”, Haaretz, 14 avril 2004 ; Perle quoted in Michael Flynn, “The War Hawks : The Right Flexes Muscle with New U.S. Agenda”, Chicago Tribune, 13 avril 2003.

US Supplies Weapons to Armed Groups in Syria

arton192140-03336

On the 3 June 2016, the Pentagon parachuted weapons to armed groups in Marea.

Washington hopes that these armed groups will drive back ISIL in the province of Rakka.

There are three groups could have benefited from this support, which violates international law :

  • Groups affiliated to the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG)
  • Turkmen armed groups under the command of Turkish soldiers
  • Arab soldiers, who once belonged to the Syrian Free Army, now under the command of French soldiers

These last two groups had at first fought against the Syrian Arab Republic alongside the Al-Nusra Front (the Syrian branch of Al-Qaida) and Ahrar al-Sham, two groups which have committed crimes against humanity.

Translated from French

Source: Réseau Voltaire

http://www.voltairenet.org/article192140.html

 

Turkey transports weapons and ammunition to jihadist armed groups in Syria

On 3 June 2016, the Russian ministry of defence made public video images taken from a reconnaissance aircraft. The video shows long lines of lorries transporting ammunition and weapons from Turkey to armed groups in Idleb, Syria.

It is not yet possible to precisely identify these armed groups. At best we know that the West currently supports the Turkmen, the Kurds as well as former Arab members of the Free Syrian Army.  According to Russian and Syrian defence ministers, the majority of the armed individuals are members of the Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaida.

On the same day, the Pentagon had itself dropped weapons and ammunition into Marea*. We do not know which armed group took these supplies.

The liberation of Idlib would allow Syria and Russia to free Alep, which would spell the end of plans to overthrow the Syrian republic and establish an Islamic fundamentalist government.

*See https://geostrategieblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/syria-pentagon-drops-weapons-to-armed-groups/

See also “Are we honestly fighting against the Isamic State (ISIL)?”

https://geostrategieblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/are-we-really-fighting-against-isis/

 

Translated from French

Source: Réseau Voltaire

http://www.voltairenet.org/article192146.html

 

Assad – Portrayed as Tyrant to Serve Western Interests

Interview with Fahad Al Masry, member of the Syrian opposition and coordinator of the Syrian National Salvation Front

Fahad al-Masri

 

The US and Russia have intensified their military efforts in Syria with the help of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG). Do you think an end to the crisis is now near?

You must remember that during the ISSG meeting, held last May in Paris, there were many disagreements, caused by the difference in Russian and American policies. This also led to the creation of two different groups: one supported the US and Russia, while the other supported Europe, led by Germany and France (and also included Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar). They created a European, Arab and Muslim coalition; the dozen or so Arab and European countries which formed the Group of Friends of the Syrian People continues to declare its support for the opposition.

This situation is due to Obama’s disastrous Middle East policy which left Russia free to intervene in the conflict, while sidelining Turkey and the Gulf countries. This split within the support group can be clearly seen because, during the Paris meeting, there was tension between the Europeans (France and Germany) and the other countries.

There are a number of unresolved issues, even if all parties claim that the target date for political transition is a real goal. The Vienna talks aimed to strengthen relations between the partner countries and to rebuild alliances which had became too narrowly focused during the Paris meeting.  Russia, an ally of Bashar al-Assad, reported in early May on active negotiations aimed at bringing an end to the conflict in Aleppo.

Moscow, however, had warned that it did not intend to put pressure on Damascas to stop carrying out air strikes on the city, even though that’s what had Washington’s demanded. All these alliances and disagreements make the Syrian issue very complicated. An alliance, or several alliances even, within the same support group does not necessarily help attempts to find a resolution to the crisis. The post-Geneva period is only just beginning, and the hope is that we do not go down the road of a Geneva V, Geneva VI…etc

The United States does not see a future for Bashar al-Assad in Syria, it is one of their priorities: remove him from power. What’s your opinion on this matter?

As Lakhdar Brahimi once put it, Bashar al-Assad is finished. This declaration can be justified given that Bashar al-Assad had supported the Iranian and Russian attacks on civilians demanding freedom and respect.

History will remember that Obama was the worst American president ever because his policy pushed Syria and the entire region into endless conflict. From the beginning, Washington severly criticised Assad’s policy. But while Assad was free to transgress all limits, the US did nothing but interfere in our internal affairs rather than finding a solution to both the conflict and Bashar al-Assad.

The image of Bashar as a tyrant merely served the interests of certain world powers who aim to destroy our country and destabilise the entire region to serve interests beyond our own. Syria is not the only target. This strategy of destruction targets other countries, too, in particular the countries in Northern Africa, such as Algeria.

Do you think that recapturing Rakka from ISIL could have an impact on other towns in the country?

The liberation of Rakka is important and, without a doubt, constitutes a defeat for ISIL. The international media distracted us with “the destruction of archaeological sites” in order to conceal an international illegal trade in archaeological treasures, supported by both the Syrian and Iranian government.  By destroying a country’s memory, you destroy its future. The other problem in Rakka is that the US had brought Kurdish militia forces into Syria to help liberate the city. We can now expect a civilian massacre.

Translated from French

The original author was Faten Hayed

Source: France-Irak Actualité

http://www.france-irak-actualite.com/2016/05/interview-de-fahad-al-masri-opposant-syrien-et-coordinateur-du-groupe-salut-national-en-syrie.html

 

SYRIA – Palmyra and the Limits of Propaganda in the War against ISIL

Russia and Iran pulled out all the stops to make Bashar al-Assad “the liberator of Palmyra” before the continuation of the Geneva talks in April. Syrian government forces would have been incapable of this task without support from Spetsnaz, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and members of the Iraqi Shia militia. By mid-March, the Russians declared that their air-force was carrying out “20-25 air-strikes per day” and that they had destroyed “158 ISIL targets”. We can imagine the sheer scale of the devastation in the oasis.

Palmyre et les limites de la propagande de guerre anti-Etat islamique

(Photo of Palmyra taken before the civil war)

So “Syrian government troops” regained control of Palmyra (Tadmor in Arabic), a town which they let fall into the hands of ISIL in May 2015, after having offered practically no resistance. We will continue to wonder for a long time to come about the curious blindness of Russian and American spy satellites which failed to spot the columns of jihadi troops moving towards “the pearl of the desert” and its terrifying prison where over a thousand opponents to the government, most of whom were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, were shot dead at point-blank range in 1980. Anyone would think that the occupation of the ancient ruins was advantageous from a media point of view for the Assad regime, which was in desperate straits at the time.

Archaeologists the world over breathed a sigh of relief when the Syrian government regained control of Palmyra.  They will never forget that ISIL destroyed the Temple of Bel (comparable to the God Zeus) and the Temple of Baalshamin (Lord of the Heavens) in order to again wipe out the traces of pre-Islamic religions. Nor will they forget that they smashed the Lion of Athena statue and blew up three towers in the Valley of Tombs. This is obviously excessive. But UNESCO, which refers to “war crimes” when talking about the damage caused, should not forget that the jihadi terrorists are not the only ones to have exploited this site.

From about 2012, rumours began to circulate that gangs obtained archaeological permits in exchange for their support for the Syrian regime. Many ancient treasures were stolen during this period. A group of armed rebels once seized control of the site and raided the tombs to finance their activities. In 2013, following the liberation of the town by Bashar al-Assad’s army and the Shabiha militia (Alawaite mercenaries), photos of soldiers carrying Palmyrene busts were published.

This time, the damage caused by ISIL would appear to be not as extensive as the Western war propaganda claimed, which is good news. In any case, ISIL had shown the damage it caused in its videos.

According to the head of Syrian antiquities, it will take five years to restore the damaged treasures.

Translated from French

The original author was Gilles Munier

Source: France-Irak Actualité

http://www.france-irak-actualite.com/2016/03/palmyre-et-les-limites-de-la-propagande-de-guerre-anti-etat-islamique.html

 

SYRIA – Towards an Islamic Emirate in Idlib Province?

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the chief of Al-Qaida, had previously opposed the creation of a Syrian Islamic emirate in the areas controlled by the Al-Nusra Front and its allies. Today he supports the idea, believing that the conditions on the ground would allow this.

Syrie : Vers un émirat islamique dans la province d’Idlib?

With this in mind, he is reported to have sent a delegation of leaders from his group to the Idlib province in order to assess the feasibility of the project. Among the delegation was Saif al-Adel, a former colonel of both the Egyptian Special Forces and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. He was accused by the American government of having participated in the 1988 US embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and in Nairobi (Kenya).

Imprisoned in Iran, Saif al-Adel was apparently released in 2015, along with four other Al-Qaida members, within the framework of an exchange of prisoners with AQAP (Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula) and the Taliban.

An Arab Spring which is on the right track…

In a message broadcasted last May, Ayman al-Zawahiri declared: “Syria today represents hope for the faithful….the only Arab Spring revolution which is on the right track”. He also declared that jihadi fighters should unite “to defeat the war machine of the eastern and western crusades” and that this is “a matter of life or death for them”. He added that the West “aims to create a regime in Syria which will appear to be Islamic but which will be based on a corrupted version of Islam”. And he described the members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an organisation which he considers to be illegitimate, as “extremists” and “renegades”

The entire world has risen up against Muslims

The initiative taken by Ayman al-Zawahiri is backed by Hamza ben Laden – the 23 year-old son of Osama – who also urged all jihadi fighters to unify their ranks, stating that “there are no longer any excuses for those who still want to argue and divide, now that entire world has risen up against Muslims…”

Hamza ben Laden reminded jihadi fighters that the purpose of their combat is the “liberation of Al-Qods” and that “the path to the liberation of Palestine is today shorter thanks to the revolution in Syria”.

The Al-Nusra Front, led by Abou Muhammad al-Joulani, has not yet come to a decision because its allies within the Jaish al-Fatah (The Army of Conquest, which comprises several Islamic groups) fear that news of the creation of an Islamic state in the Idlib province will lead to division in its ranks.

Translated from French

The original author was Gilles Munier

Source: France-Irak Actualité

http://www.france-irak-actualite.com/2016/05/syrie-vers-un-emirat-islamique-dans-la-province-d-idlib.html

 

 

Syria – Why the West Got it Wrong

Book: Syrie. Pourquoi l’Occident s’est trompé (Syria. Why the West Got it Wrong) Frédéric Pichon, Éditions du Rocher

The publication of this book, which pulls no punches, caused much controversy and created a precedent. Founding member of the magazine Conflits and author of a PhD thesis on the Syrian Christians in Ma’loula, the geopolitical analyst, Frédéric Pichon, has written a savage critique which goes against the current emotional style of many books written today on the situation in Syria.

The author condemns the disastrous management of the Syrian conflict by western governments, French diplomats being the first to blame. While the French government distinguished itself at the very outbreak of the crisis in March 2011 by taking a clearly offensive line, its tendency to take action on all fronts, combining moral outrage with verbal aggression, its military weakness and its faint-hearted attitude led to the consequences that we know today.

Intoxicated by the media euphoria of the so-called “Arab Springs”, France took over a year to reluctantly admit that its negotiating partners, the foreign-based National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, was found wanting in face of the unstoppable rise of the Islamic extremists.

Worse still, France, which wasn’t unaware of the power struggles within this motley opposition group, continually discouraged peace initiatives coming from other Syrian groups opposed to the regime. Working in collaboration with its Saudi and Qatari allies, France apparently did all it could in January 2012 to thwart the Arab League’s mission, mistakenly counting on a rapid overthrow of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The tragedy of Syria, whose landscape has been transformed into a battlefield for the world’s Islamic extremists, is also one of media excess and biased coverage of the conflict. Frédéric Pichon shows us that the story is more than one of appalling ignorance. Three years after the declaration of this war waged for others, a war which has claimed a 150,000 lives, he gives us an account of an historical blunder by a France humbled by mistakes and contradictions.


Translated from French

The original author was Tigrane Yégavian, journalist for Conflits magazine.

Source: Conflits

http://www.revueconflits.com/syrie-pourquoi-loccident-sest-trompe-de-frederic-pichon

 

Russian Military Success in Syria

Russian and American military action assessed according to the criteria of “operational art”

Today the armed forces use “operational art”, a concept developed in the 1930s by the Alexandre Svechine. This Russian general, inspired by Clausewitz and Sigmund von Schlichting, had an illustrious career under both the Tsarist and Soviet regimes. He was executed under Stalin’s orders in 1938. Although it was only in 1970 that he was officially pardoned, he had influenced the victorious Russian generals of the Second World War.

Svechine’s achievement is to have understood and demonstrated that a military victory on the ground does not always allow the achievement of a political and strategic aim. We had the sad demonstration of this in Algeria.

Despite his brilliant victories at Austerlitz, Jena and Wagram, Napoleon did not fulfil his strategic objective: the destruction of England. He had badly chosen his course of action. The question today is: is it sufficient to pound Iraq and Syria with bombs in order eliminate the Islamic State (ISIL)?

“Operational art” allows military action on the ground to be tailored to the political and strategic aim. It aims to bridge a gap between these two levels of thought. It allows us to choose the plan of action best suited to the desired aims. When it produces no results, it should lead one to reconsider the political objectives.

The Americans discovered Alexander Svechin in the 1980s. They adopted the term “operational art” and based their military doctrine around his ideas. NATO’s Comprehensive Operations Planning Directive (COPD), the bible of our general staff and our military colleges, draws inspiration from his ideas. This in turn was adopted by the French armed forces in the form of the Methodological Guide to Operational Planning. If the term is new, the concept is not. Our military colleges and general staff have long practised operational art. They unintentionally practise operational art, much in the same way that Molière’s Mr Jourdain unwittingly wrote prose.

Marshal Foch’s question “What does this mean?” was the first step in a process of operational art.

What we termed “The Method” kept the following criteria to assess the effectiveness of military action:

Is it suitable?

Is it feasible?

Is it satisfactory?

We again find the same terms in the NATO COPD, but the Americans have made the procedure more complicated, perhaps to the detriment of reaction times in the command chain:

“Suitable”, that is to say does it allow the achievement of the goals fixed by the mission?

“Feasible”, that is to say compatible with available means, external support and the restrictions of time and space

“Satisfactory”, that is to say are the results acceptable when compared to the desired results?

The answer to these questions allows us to verify that the objective and the proposed action are coherent. We thought it was an interesting idea to ask these questions in order to assess Russian and American military action in Syria.

Of course, this is purely an academic exercise. While we know something about their tactics by observing what’s happening on the ground, we do not know the real political objectives. By confining ourselves to just these three questions, we are making only partial use of the operational art method.

The American course of action

The Americans, along with the French who are supporting them, clearly state their desire to destroy the Islamic State.

They claim to be engaged in a “battle of annihilation” (Clausewtiz’s Niederwerfung) against the Islamic State.

The first stage of their course of action consists of a small number of air strikes, using high-tech weapons. These air strikes are made from remote air-bases or from carriers and target military targets only. The second stage consists of the use of allied ground troops.

Is this action suitable ?

It would seem not because, even if this leads to heavy losses for the Islamic State, it has failed to stop their advance in Syria and Iraq. It doesn’t put their existence in any doubt. Rather it corresponds to a war of attrition (Clausewitz’s Ermattung).

In a conventional conflict, an army considers that a unit, having lost a quarter of its soldiers, is no longer viable. The same reasoning doesn’t apply to the Islamic State’s fanatical troops, who will continue jihad regardless of the losses inflicted by the air-strikes.

The Euphrates Valley, an essential route for the Islamic State’s economic survival and the central pillar for the group, has not been cut-off, despites the air –strikes on Racca.

The United States claims to be waging a total war against the Islamic State. But are they really? Given their course of action, we are entitled to have doubts.

The systematic destruction of oil facilities, cotton fields and the main roads would be an task for the American and allied air forces. This would deprive the Islamic State of its economic resources. The closure of the Turkish border would deprive the group of its lifeblood but this has not been done. The telecommunications networks are not being attacked.

The American course of action and the associated French course of action are not suitable.

Is this course of action feasible?

Yes, for the first phase of action, it would appear so: the bombs regularly hit their targets.

On the other hand, the second phase of the action plan is not feasible. Diplomatic efforts will not convince the so-called allies to deploy ground troops. The ideological symapthy between the Islamic State and the Saudis, as well as with President Erdogan of Turkey, runs too deep. Saudi Arabia is what the Islamic State would look like if it succeeded. Only the Kurds are playing the game, but they do not need to be convinced.

Is the American course of action satisfactory ?

The American army is rich. Nonetheless, the cost of air-strikes against the Islamic State seems to be high when compared to the results. If we add to the hourly flight cost the price of weapons, the logistic costs incurred by the deployment of units, we come to a staggering total: hundreds of thousands of dollars for each air-strike. Not far from a million, perhaps. It is too high to be published. The course of action is not satisfactory for the US, and even less so for France.

The Russian course of action

The Russians threw themselves into action in Syria with intermediate objectives which were precise and limited. As a first step, they want to restore the sovereignty to the part of the state that still functions, secure their naval base in Tartous in order to then be able to destroy the Islamic State group in Syria.

Is the Russian course of action suitable ?

Their action plan, like that of the Americans, is based on air-strikes and military action, carried out on the ground by their allies.

But the tempo of their attacks is more intense. The chief of the Russian armed forces, general Valeri Guerassimov, announced in early November that ever since the Russian military campaign in Syria was launched, the airforce has carried out 2,300 operations and destroyed 4,100 targets. Approximately 70 missions per day, often in support of Syrian government forces in order to allow them to gradually recover their national territory.

The Russian plan of military action is therefore suitable.

Is the Russian course of action feasible ?

Yes, each day the Russian course of action is proved to be feasible ex-post. The main road linking Damascus, Hama and Aleppo has been secured; pressure is increasing on the jihadi soldiers occupying the Al-Bab province; in the eastern region of the country loyalist forces are tightening their grip on Palmyra, and are preparing to end the closure of the main road from Damascus to Deir-Ez-Zor; in the north of the country, the Syrian army has lifted the siege of the Kuweires airbase, which was occupied for 35 months.

Is the Russian course of action satisfactory ?

It is difficult to precisely estimate the cost of Russian military operations. But we can see that: the Russians use old military equipment, paid for long ago, such as the Sukhoi 24, which dates from the 1970s; that they use low-tech munitions, of which they have a large stock; and that their airbase is located in Latakia, which reduces flight times as it is close to their targets.

It is best we do not know the difference in cost between a mission completed by a Rafale, taking off from the carrier Charles de Gaulle, and a mission carried out by a Russian Sukhoi 24, flying from the airbase in Latakia!

Suitable, feasible, satisfactory ?

It would seem that the Russians have better understood “operational art” than the Americans and the French.

Translated from French

The original author was Jean du Verdier, a general officer in the French air-force and author.

Source : ASAF – Association de Soutien à l’Armée Française

http://www.asafrance.fr/item/libre-opinion-du-general-2s-jean-du-verdier-syrie-les-modes-d-action-americains-et-russes-apprecies-selon-les-criteres-de-l-art-operatif.html

See also: Xavier Moreau, a geopolitical analyst at Stratpol (www.stratpol.com), explains how the Russian military intervention in Syria has been a success. We have provided English subtitles for this video.

 

Islamic State: Anatomy of the new Caliphate

Book:  L’État Islamique, Anatomie du nouveau Califat  (Islamic State: Anatomy of the new Caliphate) by Thomas Flichy and Olivier Hanne.

A truly remarkable achievement: publish a book on the Islamic State, less than six months after its dramatic appearance on the world stage. The text is enlivened by the addition of maps and charts to help readers understand and form their own opinion. What’s more, using their “geo-cultural” method, the two authors allow us to understand the mysterious psychology of this group, in a context where Arab Sunni Muslims in both Iraq and Syria are profoundly frustrated by regional political events. It is by referring to Islamic culture that we are able to understand its appearances, which are far from deranged, and its media communications.

L’État Islamique, Anatomie du nouveau Califat, de Thomas Flichy et Olivier Hanne

Moreover, the book is capable of taking a nuanced approach, in particular when it demonstrates the extent to which the disastrous American military intervention in 2003 pushed the Sunni Ba’athist officers into the hands of the terrorist group; their aggressive nationalism was thus exploited by the Islamic State’s eschatological vision.

Finally, the Islamic State is but a symptom, perhaps temporary, of the deep crisis that the region is suffering. The organisation forced its way into the history of the Middle East because of the unflinching determination of its members and its exhaustive ideological work. The authors conclude that: “The Islamic State is an accident of Islam and the Middle East, but it is a fatal accident”.

Translated from French

The original author was Frédéric Pichon, researcher at Stratpol (www.stratpol.com) and author of “Syrie: Pourquoi l’Occident s’est trompé” (Syria: Why did the West Get it Wrong)

Source: Conflits

http://www.revueconflits.com